« 前へ次へ »
Ali Bey's Travels in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, &c. .
Bakewell's Letter, addressed to the Chairman of the Select Committee of the
House of Commons appointed to Inquire into the State of Marl houses 293
Duncan's Essay on the Nature and Advantages of Parish Banks
Elphinstone's Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, and its Dependencies 457, 556
History of Little Davy's New Hat
Hunt's Story of Rimini. A Poem
Journal of Llewellyn Penrose ; a Seaman
Kidd's Sermons, designed chiefly for the Use of Villages and Families
Kirby and Spence's lotroduction to Entomology
Klaproth's Travels in the Caucasus and Georgia
Letter to the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Lincoln, on the Subject of the
Attack made by his Lordship upon the British and Foreigu Bible Society 52
Lewis and Clarke's Travels to the source of the Missouri River, and across
the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean
List of Works recently published
102, 205, 308,413, 520, 623
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. For the Year
The Majolo. A Tale
Williams's, Miss H. M. Narrative of the Events which bave taken Place in
On the late Persecution of the Protestants in the
FOR JANUARY, 1816.
Art. I. The Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq. with Me.
moirs of his Life and Writings ; composed by Himself illustrated from his Letters, with occasional Notes and Narrative. By the Right Hon. John Lord Sheffield. A new Edition, with considerable Additions, 5 vols, Svo. pp. xlviii, 2928. Price 31. 5s. London. Murray. 1815. THERE is something, at first sight, extremely embarrassing
to the critic, in such an appearance as that of the present Publication. It is not given to the world as a new work, but purports to be no more than a new edition of an old ope; of one which made its appearance many years ago, in a quarto form. That work, as is generally known, was so favourably received, that the public may well be supposed sufficiently acquainted with its contents, no longer to stand in need either of the critic's judgement, to influence or to deter from the purchase, or of the production of select passages, to serve as specimens of the style, or as substitutes for the work itself, to those readers who, from whatever motive, might choose to be satisfied with splendid portions instead of the whole.
But, though it is no more than a new edition of an old work, it is, however, one, improved, according to the title, with considerable additions, which additions are supposed to amount to about one third of the former publication. Of these additions, then, at least, the reader of a review might expect to meet with some more particular notice.
It would, however, be no easy matter, in many cases, to distinguish, in an extensive series of narrative composition, what has been added, from the information origivally given, incorporated as both are through a considerable portion of the work. And even to distinguish accurately the addition of several letters to and from Mr. Gibbon, from those formerly published, would require a more minute comparison of both editions, than is easily instituted, or would be likely to reward the time and pains necessary to be bestowed on it.
But, should even these difficulties be surmounted, and the Vol. V. N.S.
critic proceed in his review, to the numerous Essays of various kinds, with which this new edition has been enriched, he will soon find hinzself checked in his attempt to give any account of them, which he could at all consider as either useful or entertaining, by the very circunstance from which they derive their chief value, their prodigious number and variety. He will, indeed, soon find reason to express his gratitude to the Right Hon. Editor, for the good use he has made of the interval that passed between the two editions, in arranging them under the three heads of, I. Historical and Critical, 11. Classical and Critical, and III. Miscellaneous : by which arrangement, and by the additition of a copious index, their consultation and occasional perusal of the whole work have been greatly facilitated.
But still he will find them, the new as well as the old, so miscellaneous, that a bare catalogue raisonné of their titles, would go near to filling up the space usually allotted to one of our articles. He will, indeed, find himself dazzled by the splendour of learning, and enlivened by the brilliancy which they display; nor will his just astonishment fail to be much increased, when he considers the early period of life, at which the greater part of these pieces were written : yet he will presently discover, that to lay before his readers any thing like a satisfactory account of their contents, would be next to impossible ; and that to enter critically into the discussion of the several points maintained or denied by the author, even in a select portion of them only, besides the vast length to which it would draw out his remarks, would require him to have before his eges, and to read, or to have read, with close attention, hundreds or perhaps thousands of works in different languages : in a word, it would require bim to possess equal or superior genius and learning to those of the great author himself
. To any such measure either of the one or of the other of those endowments, we dare make no pretension : nor if we had it, would our leisure permit us to follow up, with the requisite precision all the important and often truly entertaining inquiries, that would come before us.
But we dare promise every lover of History, Criticism, or Classical Literature, a rich and varied intellectual feast from the perusal, or rather the study of the last three volumes of this new edition. The first two volumes will be read with greater ease, but no less pleasure. They contain the enlarged Memoirs of the life and writings of Mr. Gibbon, composed by Himself; and a collection of bigbly interesting letters from and to him, many of them indeed master-pieces of the epistolary style, and several vot to be found in the quarto-edition of his miscellaneous works.
Of those letters of the Author to the noble Editor, which were
written during the American war, it is not saying too much, and it is surely saying enough, to observe that, mutatis mutandis, they must frequently remind the reader of Cicero's celebrated epistles to Atticus. Not indeed that we would proceed, in regard to the letters of our Author, the length to which Cornelius Nepos ventures, in regard to those of the great Roman Orator. That biographer gives it as his opinion, that the reader of Cicero's letters to Atticus, will not often stand in need of any more laboured work on the history of those eventful times. Neither Gibbon nor his correspondent, was in any such degree connected with the American revolution, that he could be said to be the soul of it, as was undoubtedly the case of Cicero with respect to the last changes of republican Roone. The comparison must therefore be made with considerable latitude, and with many grains of allowance.
Among the Essays arranged under the head of Classical and Critical, we cannot refrain from specifying one article, on account of a very particular kind of disappointment which we experienced, and which is better calculated, perhaps, than any thing we could say on the subject, to shew how extremely engag. ing a writer Mr. Gibbon is. We allude to certain remarks writ. ten in French, on the characters and writings of Sallust, Cæsar, Cornelius Nepos, and Livy. We had gone through the former three, and had proceeded so far in what relates to Livy, that our Anthor had completely succeeded in exciting in our breasts, a most pungent regret for the irretrievable loss of the finest and best parts of the great Roman's History; and we were just beginning to console ourselves with the hope, that Mr. G. would make us some amends for the want of Livy's eloquence on those parts of the Roman story which are lost, by his own scarcely less eloquent remarks on that part of the work which has been spared : when, lo! we were suddenly stopped by an Hiatus nullis lachrymis satis deflendus, or rather by a complete Cætera desunt. Our disappointment was so great, so sudden, and so unexpected, that we were almost tempted to conjecture, that the Autbor bad broken off where he did with design, in order to give us a lively image of his own feelings, and of those of every competent reader of Livy, when, in the midst of a deeply interesting subject, the narrative suddenly stops short, leaving the disconsolate student involved in darkness, and penetrated with profound but hopeless and unavailing regret and sorrow.
What then? Shall a work in five large octavo volumes, by such a writer as Edward Gibbon, Esq. be passed over, or but slightly noticed, because it is not altogether new, or because the subjects treated of are too many for enumeration, and too intricate for minute criticism ? and must we be satisfied with inviting our readers to a perusal of the work itself, by assuring them,